Overview of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Overview of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is the name of a law that was signed in March 2010. It is part of the Democratic Congress and President Barack Obama's efforts to reform the American health care system, provide health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, and lower costs associated with health care. The PPACA is one of two bills that emerged in early 2010--the other component is the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, also passed in March 2010.

The PPACA and related legislation is part of a decades-long effort to reform the nation's health care system and ensure that more Americans have adequate and affordable health care coverage. It was one of the most prominent issues of the 2008 presidential campaign. The development of this legislation sparked a national debate, further polarized Congress, and touched off a major movement against incumbent legislators. As most of its provisions will take effect over the course of several years, the precise impact this law will have will not be assessed for some time.

Overview of key terms and definitions related to Obamacare

Affordable Health Care for America Act: A 2009 precursor to the PPACA, sponsored by the House, this legislation was far more comprehensive and expensive than PPACA.

Medicaid: Government-sponsored health care program for individuals and families with low-incomes and disabilities.

Medicare: Government-sponsored health insurance program for residents who are sixty-five and older and/or meet certain special criteria.

Recession: Period of economic decline lasting for two or more consecutive quarters.

Reconciliation: US Senate process that allows for a limitation of twenty hours for debate on controversial spending bills.

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